Authorities in Kenya found 15 thin and malnourished followers of a Kenyan church on the property of the organization’s pastor. Four of these 15 devotees died after the group was rescued and taken to the hospital for treatment.
Four people have been found dead in Kilifi, Kenya ‘while fasting to meet Jesus.’
Nearly a dozen others have been hospitalised after being rescued while awaiting the imminent end of the world.https://t.co/zYiOERLlZR pic.twitter.com/Qe4DlfiKiH
— BBC News Africa (@BBCAfrica) April 14, 2023
According to Kenyan police, investigators received tips from informants about more than a dozen Good News International Church followers starving themselves to death after their pastor, Paul Makenzi, told them it was a way for them to meet Jesus Christ.
But was he wrong?
— Gerhard (@GerhardPetzer) April 15, 2023
When authorities rescued the devotees, most were too weak to walk or talk to the officers who found them. On April 14th, Makenzi surrendered to the Kenyan police in the southeastern town of Malindi.
It wouldn’t be the first time the pastor would be in trouble with authorities. Last month, Makenzi was charged with the deaths of two children whose parents were members of his church. Makenzi pleaded not guilty to the case and was released on bond while the proceedings continued.
Oh my, I thought we arrested this guy
— ChelcieSPorter.Art (@laartistagitana) April 14, 2023
Residents had complained to the local police against Makenzi, accusing him of encouraging cultism to grow in the town. Cults are widespread in the Christian-majority African nation, often considered one of the continent's most religious countries.
A people enslaved by religion are harder to liberate Than a people enslaved by chains
— Addija Azim Palmer (@addija61370) April 14, 2023
Makenzi’s church has been shut down since 2019, as reported by NTV Kenya. A controversial figure in the country, he described education as “evil” in an interview.
The four people who died on April 14th were not identified, and their bodies were taken to a morgue in Malindi.
Although police also received tips about a possible mass grave on Makenzi’s property, initial searches failed to find one.
John Kemboi, the sub-county police of Malindi police station, said that investigations are ongoing. Nevertheless, Elizabeth Usui, Malinda’s chief magistrate, allowed the police to detain Makenzi for 14 more days while investigations were being conducted.